Trust’s full response to TLA’s special measures verdict

L34566H13''A Level Results Littlehampton Academy 2013 picking up the results
L34566H13''A Level Results Littlehampton Academy 2013 picking up the results

THE Woodard Academies Trust said its focus was on turning The Littlehampton Academy into ‘an educational establishment of excellence’ in the wake of Ofsted’s inspection.

David Bilton, CEO of Woodard Academies Trust, said changes had already been made following the trust’s own internal reviews, including the appointment of a new acting principal, Marianne Gentilli, and the removal of the school’s advisory body.

He said the report also highlighted positives, including signs of improving progress in most subjects.

Mr Bilton’s full statement has been printed below.

“We are, of course, disappointed with the Ofsted findings but not surprised. Our focus is firmly on what needs to be done to ensure that The Littlehampton Academy becomes an educational establishment of excellence for young people in the town. We have already made changes as a result of our own internal reviews. A new acting principal is in place and an Academic Improvement Board has replaced the former Academy Council to ensure that heightened emphasis is being given to the increasing and monitoring of academic standards within the academy.

“The Ofsted report reflects these internal findings and has given us the necessary backing to make important changes.

“With the stepping back of the academy council and an academic improvement board in place, senior personnel from Woodard Academies Trust have been working closely with the leadership of the academy to ensure future student success. The new interim principal Marianne Gentilli has an extensive background in school improvement and is already making a significant difference.

“As an example, English was one of the subjects highlighted by both our own annual internal review and the Ofsted report. The trust recommended additional support for The Littlehampton Academy from an English lead practitioner last year to work with the head of faculty to identify ways to improve performance. This was turned down by the academy. Following the recent changes, lead practitioners have been engaged and are ensuring English is improving.

“The Ofsted report has highlighted a number of positives. There are signs of improving progress in most subjects and the work of students currently in school is closer to the levels expected. It was also pleasing that the report highlighted the progress made by sixth-formers, the support given to disabled students, those with special needs and those with autism. We appreciate that there will be concern from parents and the wider community. Ofsted has recently changed its criteria, as part of its efforts to ensure today’s students receive outstanding education. While this invariably leads to more schools being subject to special measures in the short-term, it will yield benefits in the long-term and so is a move that Woodard Academies Trust, as a leading education provider, welcomes and fully supports.

“We are confident that the changes recently made at The Littlehampton Academy will yield significant improvements and bring about considerable benefits to the pupils. We look forward to welcoming the inspectors back to The Littlehampton Academy in the near future to demonstrate our commitment to improving attainment and progress.”